You’re moving to a new place or updating your bathroom when you reach the unavoidable question: “What should I do with the old faucet?”
There are a number of things you can do, but whether it is recyclable or not is a top concern. Kitchen faucets can get old, rusty, or outdated-looking. So, owners want to know how to replace them responsibly.
Are Kitchen Faucets Recyclable?
Almost all kitchen faucets are recyclable, especially ones made of metal. Plastic faucets can also be recycled. How recyclable the faucet is will depend on its materials, but there is a suitable solution for every type of faucet. The proper recycling center will be able to find a use for it.
Kitchen faucets are generally made of metal, which is a highly recyclable material. Scrap yards and recycling centers often readily accept scrap metal pieces. Discarding metal in a dump or landfill can release toxic chemicals into the soil. So, recycling is encouraged.
The toxic components in plastic make it less recyclable than metal. But you can find some DIY solutions. Chances are that the local recycling facility may even be able to repurpose this plastic. Plastic is non-biodegradable, which means that it does not decompose for thousands of years. Reusing as much plastic as you can certainly reduce your carbon footprint on the planet.
What Faucet Fixtures Are Recyclable?
As a rule of thumb, most metal faucets are recyclable. However, with plastic, you have to do a little research.
The most common metal fixtures in the kitchen sink are made of brass. Brass is a durable faucet metal made of a mixture of copper, tin, zinc, and lead. What makes brass so perfect for faucets is its resistance to water-based corrosion. And this very resistance also makes it desirable for recycling.
In fact, it’s so valuable that scrap metal collectors will pay a higher price. However, the alloy may have impurities or lower contents of desirable metal. This will affect its sale value.
Stainless steel is on a similar level as brass for faucet recycling. The metal is resistant to corrosion, but it is also an alloy containing nickel. Nickel is always good for repurposing. This includes brushed faucets with nickel finishing.
Gold faucets are popular due to its elegant design. They are also recyclable. However, you shouldn’t expect a great return on money. Since gold is not as durable as our alloys, it is less usable as a sink material. Not to mention that gold faucet is expensive. So, oftentimes, the gold kitchen faucets you see are simply coated and lacquered with a varnish.
Plastic is at the lower end when considering the recyclability of kitchen materials. It can release harmful chemicals when burned, and it does not decompose. It is generally only collected by specific recycling centers, so you should contact your local ones to confirm. Other ways to recycle is making it a fun home project. Kids will love to paint over it. The colorful faucet can become a wacky art piece.
What Faucet Fixtures Are Not Recyclable?
Some plastic faucets are not recyclable.
Ceramic cartridges tend not to be recycled. The piece is too small, and a lot of curbside recycling programs don’t accept them. Cartridges are the part inside the faucet that allows you to separate hot and cold water. These are often made of metal, plastic, and ceramic.
What Type of Faucet Can Be Recycled?
The types of kitchen faucets that are recyclable include:
- Stainless Steel
- Brushed Nickel
- Coated Metals (like gold)
Is A Stainless Steel Sink Recyclable?
Stainless steel sinks are highly recyclable. They go for a pretty good price at scrap yards because of the nickel in the alloy. Generally, nickel and old stainless steel will be reborn as new nickel-containing stainless steel.
Here’s how you can make the most out of recycling your stainless steel sink:
- Take off the outer steel ring.
- Remove the drain from the bottom.
- Remove the brass drain as well.
- Get rid of any rubber and caulk.
- Using a hammer and chisel, pound the sink to form scraps.
- Take the individual metal parts and scraps to the scrap yard.
Can A Cast Iron Sink Be Recycled?
Cast iron sinks are highly recyclable. One of the main metals in steel alloy is iron, so scrap yards always love cast iron. This iron can find a new purpose in steel alloys.
But usually, cast iron sinks tend to be heavy and durable. So, cast iron sinks can last up to 30 years. You might consider donating it to charity instead. However, these sinks also scratch easily. That’s a tradeoff to consider.
Are Porcelain Sinks Recyclable?
Recycling porcelain sinks is challenging, but it is possible. What makes it hard to repurpose this material is the fact that, unlike metal, people don’t often have porcelain items for recycling. As such, most recycling programs and centers don’t have a system in place for these.
Some local centers do recycle porcelain, though. They can be remade into porcelain tiles or crushed to pieces to use in construction site backfills.
If your porcelain sink is still usable, it’s best to donate them to charities or sell them on yard sales, websites, etc.
If you have found a recycling center that can help, follow these steps before recycling the porcelain:
- Clean and disinfect your porcelain sink.
- Remove all non-porcelain fixtures such as faucets.
Then, you can take it to the center.
Is Plumbing Pipe Recyclable?
Yes, plumbing pipes are recyclable. Both the modern-day PVC pipes and the cast iron pipes found in old homes can be recycled.
Most commonly found as plumbing pipes, PVC pipes are highly durable. So, there are not many available for recycling as of yet.
Reusing is not possible for PVC pipes for standard maintenance. However, they are recyclable as PVC is a thermoplastic. This makes the scrappers’ jobs easier as the pipes can easily be repurposed as new ones.
Cast iron pipes are found in homes built before the 1970s. They are easy to recycle as scrap metal at scrap yards.
Is Plastic Drain Pipe Recyclable?
Plastic drainage pipes are generally made of HDPE or PVC plastic, both of which are recyclable.
HDPE plastic can find new life as floor tiles, synthetic timber, fencing, new pipes, etc.
PVC plastic finds new uses as decks, drainage mats, speed bumps, new pipes, etc.
Your plastic recycling center will identify the type of plastic pipe you have by its code. That will allow you to have a broad idea of the possibilities.
Can You Recycle Hoses?
Hoses are generally not recyclable. While they have the appearance of plastic, a lot of its content is non-recyclable material.
They are also known to cause problems for recycling centers. Since hoses are a thick, rubbery, and sticky-like material, they can get stuck in trucks, conveyor belts, and even the gears in vehicles. These transport issues make hoses more trouble than they’re worth. They slow down the recycling process as a whole.
However, you can repurpose them as home projects. A disinfected piece can become your dog’s new chew toy. Or, you can use the rubbery material for a better grip around your knife handle. Creative uses like these can allow us to make the fullest use of things.
If you cannot find any use for them, it’s best to send them to the garbage bin.
What Type of Metal Can Be Recycled?
The most commonly recycled metals are:
This list is not exhaustive as there are hundreds of recyclable metals and metal alloys. The main characteristic that affects the recyclability of metal is whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous.
The definition of ferrous metals is that they are metals containing iron. By logic, we can understand that non-ferrous metals are metals without iron content.
Non-ferrous materials tend to go for a higher price at the scrap yards. So, it’s always recommended to separate your ferrous and non-ferrous metal pieces.
Common ferrous metals:
- Stainless Steel
- Cast Iron
- Wrought Iron
- Light Iron
Common non-ferrous metals:
What Happens To Metal Waste That is Not Recycled?
Metal waste that is not recycled usually ends up in a landfill.
From there, the following things can happen:
The metals can be sent to burn.
Burning of metal releases harmful chemicals into the air. This causes polluting of the air in the area.
The metals can be left as junk.
This is bad because landfills are already overcrowded. So, piling up unnecessary junk which can be used is harmful to the environment. It also affects the surrounding citizens, who have to deal with the unsightly junk pile. Furthermore, it takes space away from materials that need to be discarded.
Metal kitchen appliances, on the whole, are generally more recyclable, like faucets, sinks, etc. However, before giving up and throwing plastic into the bin, checking with recycling centers is a wise choice. Our environment benefits when we are responsible for our home upgrades.